By Jacob Nakamura
(Tumon, Guam) Speaker Tina Muna Barnes said she has been concerned about the accountability of money during the public health emergency, and provided Kandit with correspondence she sent to Public Auditor Benjamin J. Cruz asking him to look into Gov. Lou Leon Guerrero's spending of federal and local funds.
On April 29, 2020, Ms. Muna Barnes wrote to Mr. Cruz:
"As millions of dollars have already been spent - and hundreds of millions more is yet to enter our government and economy, I join the public in the sense that we must ensure that these funds are expended appropriately."
The speaker offered to introduce legislation that would assist Mr. Cruz to audit the government and ensure the accountability of funds. "Given that the task in front of our government is unprecedented in nature, I am sure that many policies and procedures are being developed as we go. As such, I understand that a thorough analysis of the effectiveness of a program, would require a more hands-on approach from your office."
Mr. Cruz has since responded to both Ms. Muna Barnes and the public outcry for the accountability of funds following the revelation of evidence indicating corruption in the procurement of hotels for quarantine and isolation facilities. He has started the process of auditing the executive branch and has requested documents of expenditure and the procurement of goods and services during the public health emergency.
"Should there by any impropriety - we need to hold these individuals accountable," Ms. Muna Barnes said. "As such, I am hoping that since the OPA has committed to getting these audits done before the end of the fiscal year, there will still be a few months left in this term to address this matter. Furthermore, I understand that a RFP will be going out from the government of Guam for an independent auditor to perform an internal audit. My rationale behind this is that I want to have all the facts presented to me from both audits, and should there be any discrepancies or the slightest impropriety, I assure. you that the Committee on Public Accountability will be looking into this matter."
Ms. Muna Barnes is the oversight chairwoman on public accountability.